Back-office business: How Schools GET IT DONE, August 2011

Oklahoma District Chooses a New Student Data System

Challenge: The 17,000-student Broken Arrow (OK) Public Schools needed to ease the heavy burden of state reporting and give educators access to key student data.

Solution: School leaders in the Tulsa suburb went with the Mizuni District Solution for several reasons, not the least of which was the positive feedback they heard from other districts using the product. State reporting is a lot easier, thanks to Mizuni’s automated processes, says Cathy Brown, the district’s assistant director for student management. In addition, the district’s network is relieved from time-intensive reporting and educators can extract and receive data from several different platforms and applications.

Philadelphia Elementary School Ups the Tech Ante

Challenge: When Philadelphia (PA) planned to open the K-8 Stephen Decatur School in the fall of 2011, it wanted to extend its already innovative instruction into new areas.

Solution: Principal Charles Connor used a $10,000 Lindback Foundation Award to beef up the curriculum with an iPad lab, a student-run Virtual Help Desk, e-books, and student-produced video content. Academic Tech Pack will provide the iPads, professional development, and curricula aligned to state standards.

Affordable Access to Virtual Servers

Challenge: The nonprofit cloud-computing consortium for Illinois schools, IlliniCloud, needed affordable access to virtual servers, online storage, and high-speed connectivity across the state.

Solution: IlliniCloud worked with CDW to share data center resources and costs among schools across the state. CDW sales and solution architects provide on-site consultation and services to help the consortium plan and implement the solution. Previously, data backup and virtual servers were financially out of reach for the Champaign Unit 4 (IL) School District. Now the district has a comprehensive, off-site disaster-recovery solution. “We have peace of mind knowing that if our network goes down, our information is saved and available,” says Roger Grinnip, director of information technology at Champaign.

Kansas Districts Adopt Fiber Optic WANs

Challenge: Two districts in Kansas want to be prepared for ever-increasing large-bandwidth applications.

Solution: Riverside USD #114 in Elwood, Kansas and USD #431 in Hoisington, Kansas signed long-term agreements with Unite Private Networks (UPN) to provide high-bandwidth, fiber-based communications networks. “Bandwidth is a very important commodity to our school district, like power and water,” says Bill Lowry, superintendent of USD #431. “Being in control of our growth allows us to use this WAN as a foundation for our future.”